Volkswagen has unveiled a prototype EV charging robot, designed to charge cars in restricted parking areas such as underground car parks.
The manufacturer said the idea is that the robot brings a mobile charger to a vehicle, plugs it in, then returns later to pick it up when the driver is leaving or the battery is topped-up.
As part of the process the robot opens the charge flap, or instructs the car to do it through car-to-X communication, and connects or disconnects the cable by itself.
While the driver is away from the vehicle the robot services other vehicles, taking mobile chargers to other cars and returning empty ones to a central charging station to be recharged and used again.
According to Volkswagen the whole charging process is autonomous and a more cost-effective means of electrifying existing parking infrastructure.
Although the system is currently at the prototype stage, the manufacturer said it will carry out extensive development work to make the technology available to the public.
Volkswagen believes one of the prerequisites for market maturity is the development of car-to-X communication technology allowing an EV to communicate with the robot and charger.
Thomas Schmall, CEO of Volkswagen Group Components, which is responsible for all Volkswagen Group charging activities and charging systems, said, “Setting up an efficient charging infrastructure for the future is a central task that challenges the entire sector. We are developing solutions to help avoid costly stand-alone measures. The mobile charging robot and our flexible quick-charging station are just two of these solutions.
“Establishing a charging infrastructure is a fundamental prerequisite for this. But it needs to be demand-led and efficient. Our developments do not just focus on customers’ needs and the technical prerequisites of electric vehicles. They also consider the economical possibilities they offer potential partners.”